Mother Says She Warned Colorado STEM School of ‘Something Like Columbine’ Before Shooting

A bus evacuating students arrives at the Recreation Center at Northridge after at least seven students were injured during a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7, 2019 in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

One of the first things she noticed was that her child, and other students at STEM School Highlands Ranch, weren’t getting enough sleep. The academic workload, she said, seemed crushing. The parent noticed kids stressing out, and lashing out. She said she heard reports of violence, sexual assault and bullying. Yet school officials, she said, seemed to be ignoring the mounting problems.

When she finally picked up the phone to talk to a county school board member in December, she said she was worried that a “perfect storm” was brewing “for something like a Columbine” shooting.

The woman’s concerns were detailed in a CNN story this week following a shooting at the suburban Denver school that left one student dead and eight others injured. The mother, who showed CNN evidence of her affiliation with the school but asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation against her or her child, gave an interview Thursday expanding on her worries about the “pressure-cooker” environment on campus.

“When you don’t listen to parents’ concerns, when you don’t support teachers’ concerns, when you don’t give teachers the kind of training that they need or the support that they need … those are the elements that we need for the perfect storm, for something like a Columbine, or some kind of imminent threat to our children’s safety in the school, whether it be a bomb or an active shooter, or a suicide,” she said in the interview.

Following the parent’s call to the school board in December, a district official urged the school’s executive director to investigate the allegations to determine whether the parent’s fears were founded and whether any action needed to be taken.

“The concerns expressed by this individual are very serious and need to be looked into to the extent possible,” Douglas County School District official Daniel Winsor wrote in a December letter to STEM’s executive director, Penelope Eucker. “Please keep (the district) apprised of your investigation and conclusions.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken